Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time being angry. Angry at myself for not listening to my friends of color who told me that white supremacy was alive and well and more wide spread than I was willing to believe. Angry at my fellow citizens for choosing to vote for hate. Angry at the electoral college. Angry at Trump and his campaign. And especially angry at my family and friends who I thought were better people. Over and over I asked “Do you love me?” and you finally answered “No.”
So I’m using that anger as fuel; for creativity, for energy, for resistance. Because I will not let this go. Consider me a little more “woke;” I see the writing on the wall. You, my friends and family who voted for Trump, revealed yourselves as the bigots I didn’t think you were. No, you are not the KKK kind of bigot. You probably wouldn’t burn crosses in front of a person’s home or hang somebody from a tree. But you are the kind of bigots who feel no remorse in choosing politics over human lives. You chose promises of money over the well-being of immigrant and minority families. You chose to protect your own privileged skin while throwing black and brown people under the bus.
You are probably thinking: “How dare you call me a bigot! I voted for the lesser of two evils! I was only voting for Trump to shake things up! I voted for his economic plan! I voted against the establishment! I voted against Clinton! I voted pro-life! I voted my conscience! I voted for America!” And sure, you voted for those things. But you also voted for hate and for that I am holding you accountable.
In my life, many of you have helped me remember who I was when I was on the wrong path. You loved me enough to tell me when I hurt you. You also loved me enough to hold me accountable for messing up; and forgave me as I made amends. And my friends and family who voted for Trump, I love you so very much and I love you enough to tell you, you are on the wrong path. And this is an intervention.
Whatever you may think of Clinton, she ran a campaign platform of “stronger together.” She did not run a presidential bid on hating people. She did not call for violence against anybody. But on election night I turned to my partner and told her, “I’m ashamed of it, but I’d never thought that I would be so very grateful our son has your skin.” Because you voted for the guy whose platform was based on the belief that all Muslims were terrorists, all Mexicans are rapists, all Black people are thugs and that he would deal with all of them through registration, deportation and “law and order” execution. And perhaps you never really listened in history class but there are striking similarities between this populist platform of hate and that small man in Germany who made the same promises, only to deliver them at the price of millions upon millions of human lives.
Because your vote, your choice, will cost real human lives. And it has already begun. Since last Tuesday, hate crimes have surged across the United States against the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Hispanics, African Americans and women. Your choice made hatred legitimate. You gave people permission to assault already vulnerable populations with impunity. And since then, I have not heard a single one of you repudiate these hate crimes. You have stood by your president elect. You’ve said, “Give Trump a chance!” And he goes and selects as his closest adviser an unabashed white supremacist.
I refuse to accept this man and his racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, hateful administration as the leaders of my great country. I will be on the front lines of the protests. I will march and vote with my fellow Americans in rejecting this surge of bigotry. I will preach from my pulpits against Trump, and against you and what his campaign and your votes represent. And I will be standing on the side of love because that is the only place to stand. To stand anywhere else is to stand on the side of death.
To my loved ones who voted for Trump, I now stand in prophetic judgement against you. I am asking you to turn away from your fear and your hate. I am begging you to remember what it means to be a Christian. And if you are not a Christian I am begging you to remember your humanity. I am begging you, as people who know me and know my heart, to choose love.
Because if you don’t, you are turning this country down a path which will end up in more bloodshed. And that blood; the blood of Black children gunned down for a traffic stop, the blood of the immigrant dying in a detention center, the blood of the Muslim beaten on a bus, the blood of a woman raped on her way home from work, will be on your hands. And may all that you hold holy and sacred have mercy on you then. Because you will be remembered as Cain to your families, your friends, and your fellow citizens.
I am here asking you, pleading with you, “Do you love me?” As a person of color. As a Mexican American. As a nephew. As a cousin. As a friend. As a fellow citizen. Because I love you; and I will not give up on you. Please reach out to me; talk to me. Help me understand. Prove to me that I am wrong about you, for the sake of love. For the sake of life. For the sake of our country. And for the sake of our children.
12 thoughts on “My friend, my family, do you still love me? Stop this…”
I was up all night after this election. I couldnt get the images of Berlin in 1930s out of my head. I’m glad i wasnt alone.
You are not alone; we are not alone! Stronger together!
I just had a shiver. That’s some intensity, and always, spot on. I hope that the people who you are addressing do indeed reach out to you, and that a new understanding may be achieved.
Thank you for your support brother!
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Justin, I am so very proud of your ability to express what so many of us are feeling even thought I am “white”… Love and hugs
Thank you Dorie; we are all allies in this struggle!
I, too, feel woke. Though I most certainly did not vote for Trump, as a white person I feel like I have allowed this to happen by playing a passive role in our society, in our political process. Each election season I vote then pat myself on the back for doing my duty and choosing “the right” path then move on. I am a vocal feminist and an openly queer individual. I felt this in addition to voting was enough. I was blind to the hate that is clearly so pervasive across America. I’ve tried to educate myself on the challenges faced by people of color, immigrants, refugees, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ community. I’ve reached out to friends to ask questions to gain insight into their experiences and then I kept that knowledge to myself instead of sharing it with those around me who do not understand. I have remained silent. But I will be silent no more. Perhaps it has taken a threat against my being as a woman and as a queer to make me realize, I need, first and foremost, to listen to other marginalized individuals who face adversities that my white skin and ability to hide my queerness protect me from. Then I need to share what I learn with others who have the same privileges I do. Rather than saying “I’m an ally” I need to step up and BE that ally. I need to write to government officials and agencies expressing my concerns. I need to spend more time volunteering with organizations who will desperately need help with the battles that are soon to come to insure progress towards equality continues. And possibly the most important, I need to open my mouth when people express opinions out of misunderstanding, misinformation, or hate. I will no longer stand idly by. A fire has been lit inside me and it is raging. I see the same thing in many like minded individuals I know. Perhaps a greater sense of unity will grow from this (and not the “let’s accept this and move on” bullshit kind to unity that it now spreading across the internet, but the “let’s NOT accept this and have marginalized groups come together as one and fight for each other rather than just our individual groups” kind of unity). I was in a fog but that fog is clearing and there’s work to be done.
Thank you for your inspiring words Tawny! There is work to be done and we’re not doing it alone!
Well spoken, Justin. I’m always blown away by your candor. From his first speech, I was amazed that no one, or not a lot of people, took him seriously, took the people who cheered him on seriously. Those audiences were caught on film what we (black people) have known for decades. Now “they” have their champion. He said what they were afraid to say for decades. As you pointed out, they’re not afraid anymore. How could they not hear Hitler in his speeches? How could people chanting “build the wall” not think that keeping Mexicans out is a stepping stone to “build the boat to send them back to Africa”? How could they not see “locker room talk” as permission to grab and treat a woman wherever and however a man chooses? “A vote for change” “A vote to make America great again” sigh We’ll see. May have to seriously learn Mandarin… In the meantime, we on the receiving end of racism and bigotry will need to really learn the Constitution and law and exercise our rights as citizens of the great United States of America, my home sweet home.
I’m always proud to be a Unitarian and doubly proud today after reading this. Thank you, Justin. I’m with you 100%.
Mandy, Mandy, Mandy. I wish I didn’t have to remind “Unitarians” about our joined sistren/brethren, the Universalists. I correct other printed manifestations of “Uniitarians only” that we are the proud merger of two strands of belief. I know it seems a small thing but words are powerful as we all know, so be kind and remember, we are Unitarian Universalists.
I knew there was a lot of racism, selfishness, and ignorance in this country but I didn’t know the depths. It’s painful to know, but it’s better to know than not and continue to live in ignorant bliss.
I’m always proud to be a Unitarian and doubly proud today. Thank you, Justin. I’m with you 100%.